Steven Kelly: Chairman Tex Hall plays conflicting roles for tribe

Business owner on the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation of North Dakota wonders why Tex Hall can serve as chairman of the tribe while running a company that does business with the tribe:
I want to commend Hall for being able to run the Three Affiliated Tribes on a day-to-day basis while also running his company, Maheshu Energy, LLC., which is involved in trucking operations, building oil field locations, pipe sales, drilling fluid services as well as permitting and leasing minerals and rights-of-way to various lease operators on the Fort Berthold reservation. My company provides some of the same services as the chairman’s company and I have approximately 80 employees. There is absolutely no way I could run my company and the tribe, too, and I often wonder how our chairman does it.

More specifically, the ethics ordinance specifically prohibits members of our Tribal Council from contracting with lease operators. I personally brought this to Hall’s attention in a Tribal Council meeting shortly after he took office. He had the tribe compensate a law firm over $21,000 for a legal opinion saying that the ethics ordinance does not prohibit him from owning a business and contracting with lease operators.

To date, Hall plays dual roles — one in which he wears the Maheshu hat and conducts business with the very companies that he regulates under his chairman hat — a direct conflict of our tribe’s ethics ordinance.

Another law that should be mentioned is the resolution recently passed by the Tribal Council in response to the legal opinion mentioned above. This law is more specific about prohibiting members of the Tribal Council from having an interest in a company contracting with lease operators on the Fort Berthold reservation. This resolution was passed on Jan. 31, 2014. Hall appears to ignore the resolution as he is still operating his company without consequence.

Get the Story:
Steven A. Kelly: Challenging the tribal chairman on 'fronting' (The Bismarck Tribune 3/22)

Related Stories:
Tex Hall: Tribe makes strides in creating economic opportunity (3/13)
FBI on North Dakota reservation for probe into energy dealings (3/10)
North Dakota tribe to investigate Tex Hall's business dealings (3/6)
Man tied to Tex Hall murder-for-hire scheme remains jailed (01/29)
Tex Hall breaks silence on alleged murder-for-hire scheme (1/23)
Tex Hall declines comment on alleged murder-for-hire plot (1/22)
Alleged gang member denies being asked to kill Tex Hall (1/15)

Join the Conversation